Reston, VA

Tuesday, Feb. 16

  • Bean-efit (4-6 p.m.) – On Mardi Gras, get a free meal from a local restaurant if you work in the hospitality industry. Organized by local restaurateurs (including Bayou Bakery’s David Guas), 25 restaurants across D.C. and Northern Virginia are providing a free bean dish to the first 100 restaurant workers to show up at each location. Among those participating is Taco Bamba in Vienna and Sonoma Wine Bar in Alexandria.

Wednesday, Feb. 17

  • The Black Arts Movement (7 p.m.) – Join Fairfax’s Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Lambda Kappa Omega Chapter for an online discussion of the Harlem Renaissance and Black Arts Movement. The event is sponsored by the Fairfax County Public Library.

Thursday, Feb. 18

  • Girl Power! (7 p.m.) – Celebrate the launch of author Jen Petro-Roy’s new book Life in the Balance along with Reston’s Scrawl Books. Then, on March 25, join Scrawl Books and Petro-Roy to ask questions and discuss the book after reading it.

Friday, Feb. 19

  • Animal Predators (6-7 p.m.) – Owls, coyotes, bears, oh my! Learn about all the animal predators stalking the local woods. Afterwards, sit around the campfire at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park in Chantilly and roast up some s’mores.
  • The Places We Forgot (Anytime) – Inhabit once-abandoned locations at this new virtual exhibit from Workman Art Center in Lorton. Photograph artist Brendan L. Smith has taken pictures of abandoned places across the country and the results are enchanting.

Saturday, Feb. 20

  • Raising Ivy (11 a.m. to noon) – Local author Greg Manora details a family’s true story of coming from poverty, slavery, and segregation to football field and the halls of the Ivy League. This event is part of the Fairfax County Library’s series of Black History Month events.

Sunday, Feb. 21

  • Virginia is for Comedy (9 p.m.) – Laugh at locals as the Comedy Roadshow, a 30-minute virtual stand-up show every Sunday, makes its way to Virginia. This Sunday will feature only VA-based comedians, including funny people from Sterling, Arlington, and Richmond.

Photo courtesy of Bayou Bakery

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The non-profit Friends of Reston Regional Library is providing about 1,800 free books to local students. The Book Bites project is giving new books to children at four Reston public schools during meal and school supply pick-up, which typically runs from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m on weekdays.

The schools that will receive donations are Dogwood Elementary, Hunters Woods Elementary, Forest Edge Elementary, and South Lakes High School. The first day of distribution took place at Dogwood late last week and is expected to continue until March.

Eileen Evon, Community Outreach Chair for FRRL, says the idea came to the organization when they realized how many families were in need of partaking in the meal pick-ups.

“Knowing more kids than ever were going to schools to pick up meals got us thinking about what else they might need to feed their brains and hearts and imaginations during this crazy time,” Evon wrote in an email to Reston Now. “We believed we, as Friends of the Library, could and should help.”

With access to libraries still limited, Evon says, this made the need even greater.

Books were sorted, inventoried, and arranged by reading level by more than 25 volunteers. Families are able to take bundles for multiple students within the same household. Books will also be handed out at schools in the coming weeks, when more students are expected to return in-person.

The books chosen for the project are from recommended school reading lists and were based on input from school librarians, reading specialists, and other school staff.

The organization received assistance from the local business Scrawl Books at Reston Town Center, which provided discounts on books. Jersey Mike’s of Reston also donated 1,000 new paper bags for the book bundles.

FRRL says the total cost of the books being distributed is nearly $15,000. Funds for the project came from sales of donated books as well as cash donations.

In normal times, FRRL raises money (often with book sales) to assist Reston libraries in filling funding gaps. Their mission is to make the local library system the “can be the best it can be” by providing technology, collection materials, programming, and books for free or discounted costs to the community, according to its website.

Evon says that while giving away free books looks easy, it requires a lot of work.

“It seems like a simple idea: ‘let’s give away a bunch of free, brand-new books to kids who rarely get them.’ But it actually has required months of planning and creative thinking,” she says. “The schools have so much going on right now, and they have had to adapt constantly. We’ve been delighted to partner with them so our volunteers can come to their schools to distribute these books to their families.”

Photo courtesy of Friends of Reston Regional Library

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After being prompted by the murder of George Floyd and national protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement,  community members in Reston are turning to local bookstores for resources on systemic racism and the black community.

Scrawl Books, located at 11911 Freedom Drive, has already sold hundreds of anti-racism books, according to manager Molly McMahon.

“We have seen a profound uptick in sales for books by and about people of color, diversity, black lives matter issues and titles that address the causes and effects of racism (both fiction and nonfiction) over the past few weeks,” she said.

In the coming weeks, the location will also be organizing free books talks and events to help promote activism and education.

On Thursday (June 18), guests can tune into Zoom to hear from Daven McQueen about her new novel, “The Invincible Summer or Juniper Jones,” which focuses on a biracial adolescent sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Alabama in 1955,” according to McMahon.

Later in the month, on June 25, Mahogany L. Browne will give a book talk about her novel “Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice.”

Some of the best sellers so far include “‘How to be an Antiracist‘ by Ibram X. Kendi, ‘Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America‘ by Ibram X. Kendi and ‘White Fragility‘ by  Robin D’Angelo,” McMahon said.

Because of high demand across the country, some of the books are on back-order form publishers, according to McMahon but they would once again be available on shelves later this month.

“We ensure our inventory increases along with demand for specific titles and topics, so we can fill orders as quickly as possible,” she said.

At the shop, some of McMahon’s favorite titles for all ages from Black authors include:

For those wanting to explore other local shops around town, Reston’s Used Book Shop (1623 Washington Plaza North Lake Anne) also carries titles from black authors, but given the nature of a used book shop, one employee said they cannot guarantee that they will have specific titles.

“There’s been an increase in requests,” said one of the employees at Reston’s Used Book Shop. “Because we are a used book store, its just a matter of what we have in the shop.”

People can call the store at 703-435-9772 if they want to find out if a specific title is in stock.

Photo via Mahogany L. Browne/Facebook

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Scrawl Books, a locally-owned shop in Reston, though strained by the lack of foot traffic in the shop, seems to be doing well thanks to community support.

The shop’s owner, Rachel Wood told Reston Now that the store is staying afloat because of the local bibliophiles who are taking the campaigns encouraging people to support local businesses to heart.

In the past few weeks, the shop has shifted its business model to include curbside pickup and home delivery –which is free for people in Reston, Herndon and parts of Vienna.

“We are really happy to be able to be here for the community and get books to people so they can stay home longer and have a better time while they are there,” Wood said.

All of the free community engagement events that used to be held in-person, like the bookclubs and speakers, were simply moved onto digital platforms.  Many of the events hosted by Scrawl still have a significant number of participants, according to Wood, who added that people are looking for activities to combat the boredom of self-isolation. Anyone interested in Scrawl’s events can check out the location’s Facebook page for links and details.

In terms of staff favorites, Wood said she is currently enjoying a book called “Barn 8: A Novel” which tells the story of two auditors in the US egg industry who try and pull off a heist, according to the book’s publisher. The book retails at the shop for $16 in paperback.

Those who wish to order books for delivery or pickup from Scrawl (11911 Freedom Drive) may do so or by calling 703-966-2111 from noon. until 6 p.m. daily or ordering online.

For anyone who wants to help young kids who no longer have access to books through the public library system, Scrawl is collecting donations for teachers planning to send books to their students so the kids can continue to boost their literacy skills.

Unfortunately, though, other stores in the area such as Reston’s Used Book Shop have closed indefinitely, according to its website. There is no word from owners when the shop will reopen.

Photo via Scrawl Books/Facebook

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Former Charlottesville Mayor, Michael Signer, will discuss the violence and aftermath of the infamous “Unite the Right” rally and his upcoming book “Cry Havoc: Charlottesville and American Democracy Under Siege” next week in Reston.

On March 19, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Signer will be at the Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive), giving a free talk for those interested in his first-person narrative of violence, according to the event description.

The book dives into the “terror and mayhem of the August 2017,” the event page said.

“Cry Havoc: Charlottesville and American Democracy Under Siege” is available for purchase beginning tomorrow (March 19). Readers can preorder online or visit Scrawl Books (11911 Freedom Drive) to pick up a copy tomorrow.

Several other publications have written about the aftermath of the Charlottesville violence in the past, but this in-depth look will explore the topic from a new perspective.

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Three local businesses decided to partner on a brand new monthly book and tea pairing for people looking for book lovers and stay-cationers.

The program, which makes its debut on Wednesday (Feb. 26), allows people to pick up a predetermined book and tea pairing at Elden Street Tea Shop (714 Pine Street) for $34.95, according to Bridget Blakely, a spokesperson from Mascot Books.

“Three weeks after the pairing’s launch, readers are invited to participate in the novel-tea book club and discussion at the tea shop, ” Rachel Eisenfeld, the owner of Elden Street Tea Shop, said in a Q&A.

Each month, the tea for the pairings will be chosen by Elden Street Tea Shop while books will be chosen by Mascot Books and then supplied by Scrawl Books (11911 Freedom Drive), according to Blakely.

For the first month, program participants will be able to read “Anna Incognito” while sipping a cup of Crème Earl Grey, Blakely said.

“We tried to do a good mix of fiction and non-fiction and caffeinated teas versus herbal teas,” Blakely said.

Going forward, a new pairing will be available at the end of each month, according to a press release.

Photo courtesy Bridget Blakely

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This Saturday (Feb. 1), a local author will discuss his newest murder mystery at Scrawl Books.

From 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., John Adam Wasowicz will be signing books, meeting fans and introducing his latest book “Jones Point.”

“Jones Point” is the second book in the series and was originally published in the fall of 2019 after the first book “Daingerfield Island” was released in the summer of 2017.

Wasowicz lives in Mt. Vernon, according to a press release, which added that his book takes place in Alexandria.

The 236-page-book guides readers through the eyes of Mo Katz, a U.S. Attorney, and Sheri Stone, an Alexandria policewoman, who solve murders to save the nation’s capitol, the event page said.

Anyone interested in purchasing the book can find it online for $14 or at Scrawl Books for $22.

Everyone is welcome to attend the signing event and RSVP is not required.

Image courtesy Scrawl Books 

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Thursday Morning Notes

Reston Association Budget Hearing and Meeting is Tonight — RA’s Board of Directors will hold a special meeting today (Thursday). A draft of the budget and the meeting’s agenda — which includes information about RA’s conflict of interest policy and increases to member assessments — is available online. [Reston Association]

Author Hena Khan to Joint Girl Power! Book Club — Khan will discuss her new middle-grade novel, More to the Story, at Scrawl Books’ Girl Power! Book Club today at the bookstore. The discussion, which is open to all, starts at 7 p.m. [Scrawl Books]

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department Receives Homeland Security Grants — The department has been awarded $406,000 in competitive and noncompetitive grants. The funds will be used to improve the department’s emergency preparedness, security operations, training, and equipment. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Photo via Flickr/vantagehill

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State Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd) and her daughter-in-law are set to celebrate the release of their new book about women leaders this weekend in Reston.

Howell and Theresa Howell, the authors of “Leading the Way: Women in Power!,” will be at Scrawl Books (11911 Freedom Drive) from 2-3:30 p.m. on Sunday (Oct. 13) where they will discuss the 50 women profiled in the book and host a discussion with the audience.

The book examines the ways outstanding women throughout history have contributed to American society, according to Scrawl Books.

“This engaging and wide-ranging collection of biographies highlights the actions, struggles, and accomplishments of more than 50 of the most influential leaders in American political history — leaders who have stood up, blazed trails and led the way,” according to Scrawl Books.

Howell is a record-breaking woman herself — she is the longest-serving female legislator in Virginia, according to Scrawl’s website. She has been a senator since 1992 and a civil rights advocate since her college years.

Howell, who lives in Colorado, is an author and previously published “Maybe Something Beautiful.”

This free event is open to all ages. People can pre-order a hardcover copy for $24.

Image via Scrawl Books

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Friday Morning Notes

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Updates on Crime Incidents in Herndon — Three teenagers (ages 13, 14, and 15) were arrested in early September in connection with two robberies. Further charges are pending. In a separate case, Christopher Alvarado, 23, of Herndon was arrested on two charges of robbery on Sept. 14. [Herndon Police Department]

Conversation with Fran Lebowitz Tomorrow — Lebowitz, who is known for her acerbic views on current events and the media, will speak at Scrawl Books at 8 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday). [Scrawl Books]

Pickleball Picks Up in Reston — Reston Association reports that pickleball is becoming an increasingly popular sport in Reston. The sport is a combination of badminton, table tennis and tennis. [Reston Today]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Author Christina June to Discuss ‘No Place Like Here’ — June will discuss her book at Scrawl Books (11911 Freedom Drive) today at 7 p.m. [Scrawl Books]

A Close Look at Campus Commons — “New York-based TF Cornerstone filed plans nearly 30 months ago to redevelop an 11.6-acre site located immediately east of Wiehle Avenue, between Sunrise Valley Drive and the Dulles Toll Road. Over the course of those two-plus years, per a recently released staff report, the applicant and the county worked through issues related to the mix of uses, design, connectivity, and transportation improvements.” [Washington Business Journal]

Falls Comes Early to Fairfax County — “In Fairfax County, Virginia Cooperative Extension agents have noticed a lot of white and red oak trees dying. Senior extension agent of horticulture, Adria C. Bordas, says the factors are explained in a report by the Virginia Department of Forestry.” [The Connection]

Staff Photo by Jay Westcott

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The first-ever Lake Anne Stand Up Paddle Board Triathlon is set to take place on Sunday (September 15) at Lake Anne Plaza from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

New Trail Cycling Studio, Lake Anne Brew House, Surf Reston, and CORE Foundation are teaming together to bring the multi-sport event to the plaza. The event features a one-mile paddleboard, a seven-mile ride on a New Trail Cycling stationary bike, and a 5k lap around Lake Anne on Reston pathways. Proceeds benefit the CORE Foundation.

The event is completely sold out, but volunteers are needed and attendees are welcome to watch the festivities.

Tomorrow

  • ChalkFest at Reston Town Center (9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) — Amateur and professional artists will bring Reston Town Center’s walkways to life with chalk drawings. Prizes will be awarded for different categories. The program is presented by Reston Community Center and Public Art Reston.
  • Book Launch Party (11 a.m.) — Authors Tracey Kayle and Marcie Atkins launch their books at Scrawl Books. The party includes games, cookies and giveaways.
  • Geocaching (11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.) — Representatives from the Northern Virginia Geocaching Organizations give an overview of an outdoor hunting game that requires GPS-enabled devices and apps at Reston Regional Library. Participants will then get a chance to find their first geocaches.

Sunday (September 15)

  • Bird Walk (7:30-10:30 a.m.) — Beginning and expert participants can search for birds during this guided walk at Stratton Woods Park. The walk is co-sponsored by Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and The Bird Feeder store.
  • Apple Picking at Stribling Orchard (Noon to 4 p.m.) — Spend the afternoon picking apples in Markham. Tickets are $8 for Reston Association members and $12 for all others.
  • Chess Club for Kids (2-3 p.m.) — Players will get a chance to play against players who are at their level at Reston Regional Library.
  • The New Negro (7 p.m.) — Author Jeffrey Stewart sits down with Dr. Jane Censer, a George Mason University professor, to discuss his Pulitzer-Price winning book, “The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke.”

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Scrawl Books is hosting a family-friendly party to benefit an organization that high-quality early learning for kids.

The Reston bookstore will have fun activities for kids and parents scattered throughout the store and each half-hour a staff member will read a book for the audience. The event will run from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. at 11911 Freedom Drive on Saturday (Sept. 7).

Donations will be accepted on-site and a portion of sales will benefit the Northern Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children.

The organization’s goal is to create a safe, healthy and happy learning environment for every kid under the age of eight.

Photo courtesy of Rachel Wood

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Danielle Stinson will debut her new novel, “Before I Disappear” at Scrawl Books tomorrow (Tuesday).

The young adults novel follows a young woman as she tries to find her little brother after her town disappears into thin air.

The author will take part in a discussion about writing science fiction for young adults and publishing her first novel.

MacMillan Publishers wrote the following about Stinson’s book:

Rose Montgomery parks her family’s trailer in Fort Glory, Oregon with one goal: to carve out a new life for herself and her little brother, Charlie. They need a fresh start for their family, and she thinks she’s finally found it in a town where nobody knows them.

But Rose’s plans come crashing down when, in an instant, Fort Glory disappears and every person in town vanishes into thin air–including Charlie.

Rose and four other teens become trapped in the Fold, a patch of woods caught halfway between the real world and the lost town. In the Fold, a mysterious force suspends the laws of physics, and everyone’s inner darkness has the power to kill.

To survive the Fold, Rose must unravel the clues Charlie sends her from the missing town. And Rose has to find Charlie soon–or he’ll be gone forever.

The event is set for 7 p.m. at the bookstore, which is located at 11911 Freedom Drive.

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St. Anne’s Episcopal Church will host a book sale to help immigrants at the border on Sunday (July 21).

All proceeds from the event will go to the Refugees and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services.

Only cash will be accepted during the sale, which runs from 1-4 p.m. The church is located at 1700 Wainwright Drive.

Tomorrow (July 20)

  • Butterfly Count (9:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.) — Help count butterflies in the national areas of Reston and learn tips on identification. Data will be submitted to the North American Butterfly Association for inclusion in their Fourth of July Butterfly Count report.
  • Otto the Auto (10:30-11:30 a.m.) — Otto the talking car gives kids lessons on traffic safety. The event is geared toward children between ages three and six.
  • Family Fun Entertainment Series (10-10:45 a.m.) — Turley the Magician offers entertainment and itneractive magic at Reston Town Square Park. The event is free for all ages.
  • Children’s Friendship Afternoon Tea (1-4 p.m.) — Scrawl Books hosts its very first childrens’ tea at Elden Street Tea Shop. The event also includes an affordable trunk show with American Girl authors reading at each afternoon tea sitting.
  • Survivor Girl Launch Party (5-7 p.m.) — Celebrate the lunch of a middle-grade novel, “The Friendship Experiment,” at the Walker Nature Ceter. Writer Erin Teagen will host the party and introduce her new book.
  • Books Alive (2:30-3:15 p.m.) — Students will explore age-appropriate stories through creative drama at Reston Regional Library. Registration is required for this event.

Sunday (July 21)

  • Summerbration Fun Brunch (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) — Enjoy interactive theater at Reston Station Plaza. The event is free and open for all ages. Parking is free on weekend in the Metro Parking garage.
  • Sunday Art in the Park with GRACE (5:30-7:30 p.m.) — Greater Reston Arts Center partners with Reston Community Center to offer creative activities at Reston Town Square Park.
  • Sunday Art in the Park (7-8 p.m.) — Robert Larson, a professor of jazz, joins special guests for an evening of jazz trio standards at Reston Town Square Park. The event is presented by Reston Community Center and Reston Town Center Association.
  • Family Dive-In Movie (8:30-10:15 p.m.) — RA pass holders can come to the Dogwood Recreation Area for free pool-side movies. Registration is not required and the event will be cancelled in the event of rain or possible rain.

Photo by Ray Copson

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